Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
Rather than having to undergo treatment, it is best to avoid kidney stones in the first place when possible. It can be especially helpful to drink more water since low fluid intake and dehydration are major risk factors for kidney stone formation.
Depending on the cause of the kidney stones and an individual’s medical history, changes in the diet or medications are sometimes recommended to decrease the likelihood of developing further kidney stones. If one has passed a stone, it can be particularly helpful to have it analyzed in a laboratory to determine the precise type of stone so specific prevention measures can be considered.
People who have a tendency to form calcium oxalate kidney stones may be advised to limit their consumption of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, beets, wheat germ, and peanuts. Also drinking lemon juice or lemonade may be helpful in preventing kidney stones.
Why Do Doctors Examine The Contents Of The Stone
There are four types of stones. Studying the stone can help understand why you have it and how to reduce the risk of further stones. The most common type of stone contains calcium. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet. The kidney usually removes extra calcium that the body doesn’t need. Often people with stones keep too much calcium. This calcium combines with waste products like oxalate to form a stone. The most common combination is called calcium oxalate.
Less common types of stones are: Infection-related stones, containing magnesium and ammonia called struvite stones and stones formed from monosodium urate crystals, called uric acid stones, which might be related to obesity and dietary factors. The rarest type of stone is a cvstine stone that tends to run in families.
The Struvite Kidney Stone
Why they start
Because urine is filled with urea, soil bacteria that get into the urinary tract can break it down to ammonia and create struvite from the magnesium and phosphate urine always contains.
You might wonder how soil bacteria get into the urinary system.
Because we eat them, with foods that are not cooked, and they become part of the intestinal bacterial population from an early age. In us and around us, they find a way into the urinary system, especially in women whose shorter urethra makes entry easier. No matter how skillfully used, any instrument put into the bladder can carry our personal soil bacteria with it.
What they do
Because they live among molds and fungi, soil bacteria easily mount resistances to antibiotics, so antibiotics given for a urinary tract infection will tend to kill sensitive bacteria and select out those that can resist them.
Soil bacteria can produce struvite stones de novo, or infect calcium stones to produce a mixed stone. Either way, struvite stones are infected by their very nature. They can become huge. Their bacteria can injure the kidneys, even enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis.
Treatment is a mix of thoughtful surgery and selection of antibiotics after such surgery to kill bacteria that remain. If the stones are a mixture of struvite and calcium crystals, new calcium stones need to be prevented.
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Take Steps To Bypass Kidney Stones
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once youve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them. Here are some strategies that can help:
1. Drink enough water. A 2015 meta-analysis from the National Kidney Foundation found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 liters of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less. It takes about 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to produce that amount.
2. Skip high-oxalate foods. Such foods, which include spinach, beets, and almonds, obviously raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods, such as chocolate and berries, are okay.
3. Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds to calcium and helps block stone formation. “Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of lemon juice concentrate diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk,” says Dr. Eisner.
4. Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams . If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily sodium to 1,500 mg.
Why Kidney Stones Can Be A Problem
Stones dont always stay in the kidney. Sometimes they pass from the kidney into the ureters. Ureters are small and delicate, and the stones may be too large to pass smoothly down the ureter to the bladder.
Passage of stones down the ureter can cause spasms and irritation of the ureters. This causes blood to appear in the urine.
Diagnosis of kidney stones requires a complete health history assessment and a physical exam. Other tests include:
- blood tests for calcium, phosphorus, uric acid, and electrolytes
- blood urea nitrogen and creatinine to assess kidney functioning
- urinalysis to check for crystals, bacteria, blood, and white cells
- examination of passed stones to determine their type
The following tests can rule out obstruction:
The contrast dye used in the CT scan and the IVP can affect kidney function. However, in people with normal kidney function, this isnt a concern.
There are some medications that can increase the potential for kidney damage in conjunction with the dye. Make sure your radiologist knows about any medications youre taking.
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What Happens During A Kidney Stone Analysis
You will get a kidney stone strainer from your health care provider or from a drug store. A kidney stone strainer is a device made of fine mesh or gauze. It is used to filter your urine. You will also get or be asked to provide a clean container to hold your stone. To collect your stone for testing, do the following:
- Filter all your urine through the strainer.
- After each time you urinate, check the strainer carefully for particles. Remember that a kidney stone can be very small. It may look like a grain of sand or a tiny piece of gravel.
- If you find a stone, put it in the clean container, and let it dry.
- DO NOT add any fluid, including urine, to the container.
- DO NOT add tape or tissue to the stone.
- Return the container to your health care provider or laboratory as instructed.
If your kidney stone is too large to pass, you may need a minor surgical procedure to remove the stone for testing.
Going A Small Amount At A Time
Large kidney stones sometimes get stuck in a ureter. This blockage can slow or stop the flow of urine.
If you have a blockage, you may only urinate a little bit each time you go. Urine flow that stops entirely is a medical emergency.
These symptoms happen because of shared nerve connections between the kidneys and GI tract . Stones in the kidneys can trigger nerves in the GI tract, setting off an upset stomach.
The nausea and vomiting can also be your bodys way of responding to intense pain .
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When Should A Kidney Stone Be Treated
When a kidney stone causes pain to the extent that the pain cannot be controlled with oral pain medication, the stone should be treated. Similarly, stones that are associated with severe nausea or vomiting should be treated. Some stones are associated with infection or fever such situations can be life threatening and demand prompt attention. Stones that are associated with a solitary kidney, poor overall kidney function or complete blockage of urine flow should also all be treated.
Sometimes, when a stone is associated with bothersome symptoms, it may be appropriate to wait and see if the stone will pass on its own. If the stone is small, this is a very reasonable course of action. However, stones larger in size than 5 mm are unlikely to pass on their own and should be considered for treatment.
Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
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Blocked Ureter And Kidney Infection
A kidney stone that blocks the ureter can lead to a kidney infection. This is because waste products are unable to pass the blockage, which may cause a build-up of bacteria.
The symptoms of a kidney infection are similar to symptoms of kidney stones, but may also include:
- a high temperature of 38C or over
- chills and shivering
Kidney stones are usually formed following a build-up of certain chemicals in the body.
This build-up may be any of the following:
- uric acid a waste product produced when the body breaks down food to use as energy
- cysteine an amino acid that helps to build protein
Certain medical conditions can lead to an unusually high level of these substances in your urine.
You’re also more likely to develop kidney stones if you don’t drink enough fluids.
What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine. There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. A kidney stone may be treated with shockwave lithotripsy, uteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithomy or nephrolithotripsy. Common symptoms include severe pain in lower back, blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. Usually, these chemicals are eliminated in the urine by the body’s master chemist: the kidney. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.
After it is formed, the stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract into the ureter. Sometimes, tiny stones move out of the body in the urine without causing too much pain. But stones that don’t move may cause a back-up of urine in the kidney, ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. This is what causes the pain.
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Reducing Kidney Stone Risk
Drinking enough fluid will help keep your urine less concentrated with waste products. Darker urine is more concentrated, so your urine should appear very light yellow to clear if you are well hydrated. Most of the fluid you drink should be water. Most people should drink more than 12 glasses of water a day. Speak with a healthcare professional about the right amount of water that’s best for you. Water is better than soda, sports drinks or coffee/tea. lf you exercise or if it is hot outside, you should drink more. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup should be limited to small quantities.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, which make the urine less acid. When the urine is less acid, then stones may be less able to form. Animal protein produces urine that has more acid, which can then increase your risk for kidney stones.
You can reduce excess salt in your diet. What foods are high in salt? Everyone thinks of salty potato chips and French fries. Those should be rarely eaten. There are other products that are salty: sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, and even sports drinks.
Some herbal substances are promoted as helping prevent stones. You should know that there is insufficient published medical evidence to support the use of any herb or supplement in preventing stones.
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What Causes Kidney Stones
- By Kevin R. Loughlin, MD, MBA, Contributor
Stone disease has plagued humanity since ancient times. Kidney stones have been identified in Egyptian mummies. The Hippocratic oath describes their treatment: I will not use the knife, not even verily, on sufferers from stone, but I will give place to such as are craftsmen therein.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Kidney Stone Symptoms People with kidney stones may not experience symptoms until the stone moves in your kidney or into your ureter , at which point you may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- Flank Pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Urinating more frequently than usual
- Pain when urinating
Many people who have small stones will have them pass through the body on their own, while large stones tend to get stuck in the urinary tract. Pain is often unrelated to stone size. The smallest stones can cause the most discomfort, while large stones may sit quietly in the kidney causing only a dull ache.
Should I Cut Calcium Out Of My Diet If I Develop Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to stop eating foods that include calcium. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, its recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cows milk.
Its also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the substances in your urine.
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Stones In Your Body Can Be The Cause Of Some Painful Health Issues
It sounds strange stones in your body. Yet there are no less than seven different types of stones that can some painful health issues. One of the most common types of stone is calculus, or tartar, a form of hardened dental plaque. However, there are six other types of stone as well, like tonsil stones and gallstones. Heres a list of all the possible stones you can have in your body!
If you recognise these stones early on, you can save yourself some painful health issues in the future.
Can Diet Alone Treat Kidney Stones
For some people, dietary changes may be enough to prevent kidney stones from occurring.
In other cases, additional treatment may be necessary, including medication to break the stones up or surgery to remove the stones.
If stones become extremely painful, it is best to seek consultation with a doctor or nephrologist so they can recommend the best course of action.
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How Are Children Treated For Kidney Stones
Most childrens kidney stones can be treated with the shock wave lithotripsy , a completely non-invasive procedure. Your child is placed under anesthesia and sound waves of specific frequencies are focused on the stones to shatter them into fragments small enough to be easily passed during urination.
How Long Does It Take A Kidney Stone To Form
You can have kidney stones for years without knowing theyre there. As long as these stones stay in place within your kidney, you wont feel anything. Pain from a kidney stone typically starts when it moves out of your kidney. Sometimes, a stone can form more quickly within a few months.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors. They might do a 24-hour urine test to check how quickly you develop stones.
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Causes Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones happen when your pee has a high concentration of minerals and other substances — like calcium, oxalate, and uric acid — that come together to make crystals. Crystals stick together to make one or more stones. Stones happen when your urine doesnât have enough fluid and other substances to keep them from happening.
A kidney stone can be as tiny as a grain of sand, and you can pass it without ever knowing. But a bigger one can block your urine flow and hurt a lot. Some people say the pain can be worse than childbirth.